LAKE, FL – If fresh pecans become the next hot cash item in the DME world, Joan Allison can say that she and her husband thought of it first. As co-owner of Baya Pharmacy in Lake, Fla, Allison tends to all facets of the business, including the nuts produced by a nearby orchard.
With 21 employees, two pharmacies, and one DME, Allison and her husband are familiar faces in the 15,000-population community of Lake in the North Central region of the Sunshine state. At the DME store, they sell oxygen, CPAP, beds, wheelchairs, walkers, and ramps—which represent a new endeavor.
“We have tried to develop the accessibility side,” says Allison. “We just remodeled and got a nice looking showroom. It has not really taken off just yet. It did attract contractors who are doing remodels for people.”
Allison has almost three decades of experience, but she has long relied on Medtrade to keep up with new trends. This year, she sent two staff members to Medtrade in Orlando, Fla, while she attended the National Community Pharmacy Association show, also in Orlando.
“The manager we sent to Medtrade was new and learning, and Medtrade has the wonderful classes,” she says. “I sent him to Medtrade with a seasoned marketing person to also see what new items were out there and look for things to take to physicians’ offices. There was a laser thing called the Laser Touch One that really worked on pain. It’s a real option for patients and providers, and we are going to carry that.”
Allison says her husband is a farmer at heart, and that means customers at the DME and pharmacy shops can find some unusual items, such as the pecans and more. “My daughter said he [my husband] went into pharmacy because he thought it had something to do with farming,” she says with a chuckle. “We had a pecan orchard in Georgia, and we still have access to the nuts, so there is no end to what we won’t try to sell in here. Now we are making cane syrup straight from the farm, and we are selling that.”
One of the Allison’s two children is in the family business, while the other is away at college. “My son is a pharmacist who works at Baya,” she says, “and my daughter is a college student with a rodeo scholarship—she does the barrels.” — Greg Thompson